Joan Miró

I try to apply colors like words that shape poems, like notes that shape music.

Joan Miró i Ferrà (April 20, 1893 – December 25, 1983) was a Spanish painter, sculptor and ceramist born in Barcelona, Spain. His work has been interpreted as Surrealism, a sandbox for the subconscious mind, a re-creation of the childlike, and a manifestation of Catalan and Spanish pride.

Contents

Quotes of Joan MiróEdit

1915 - 1940Edit

chronologically, by date of the quotes
  • Let's transplant the primitive soul to the ultramodern New York, inject his soul with the noise of the subway, of the 'el', and may his brain become a long street of buildings 224 stories high. [Barcelona - Dada, 1917]
    • In: a letter to Enric C. Ricart, 1 October 1917; as quoted in Calder Miró, ed. Elizabeth Hutton Turner / Oliver Wick; Philip Wilson Publishers, London 2004, p. 47


  • Down with the Mediterranean!
    • In: Calder Miro, ed. Elizabeth Hutton Turner / Oliver Wick; Philip Wilson Publishers, London 2004, p. 32
    • Miro's verbal statement at a [[Surrealism|Surrealist] demonstration, against the supremacy of Classical culture, 1930's


  • ..wherever you are, you find the sun, a blade of grass, the spirals of the dragonfly. Courage consists of staying at home, close to nature, which could not care less about our disasters. Each grain of dust contains the soul of something marvellous. [Miró admonished art-critic w:Georges Duthuit ]
    • In: 'Où allez-vous Miró?' (Where do you go, Miró), Georges Duthuit in Cahiers d’Art 11, nos. 8-10, 1936


  • ..something as sensational as [a] heavy weight prize fight.. ..a rain of swings, uppercuts, and straight right and lefts to the stomach and everywhere throughout the entire event – a round lasting about twenty minutes. [remark on a ballet Miro planned to, c. 1930]
    • As quoted in 'Bravo' Barcelona 1994; as quoted in Calder Miro, ed. Elizabeth Hutton Turner / Oliver Wick; Philip Wilson Publishers, London 2004, p. 37


  • We see ourselves confronted with pure abstraction. Small problems and highly obscure subjects are, if you will, always grand in intention, and the layman would casually and quite undisparagingly trample on them if they were to serve as carpet motifs.
    • Quoted in a review of his Bernheim show, G. J. Gros, Fall 1933; as quoted in Calder Miro, ed. Elizabeth Hutton Turner / Oliver Wick; Philip Wilson Publishers, London 2004, p. 81 note 10


  • I have thought a lot about the question of titles. I must confess that I find any for works that take off from an arbitrary starting point and end with something real.. ..[Miro allowed w:Pierre Matisse to make titles, based on the] real things.. ..[if they do] not evoke some tendency or other, something I want to avoid completely [very probably Miro meant here: Surrealism ]. [advising Pierre Matisse; who showed then several modern European painters in New York].
    • In a letter to his art-seller Pierre Matisse, 12 October 1934; as quoted in Calder Miro, ed. Elizabeth Hutton Turner / Oliver Wick; Philip Wilson Publishers, London 2004, p. 82, note 24


  • Childhood and magic are married in this poem inscribed in infinity, like traces on walls or cracks in venerable walls, superimposed posters lacerated by wind, rain and poetry; calligraphy and ideograph intermerge in this equation.. ..in this sign.
    • In: a letter to art-seller in New York w:Pierre Matisse, [son of Henri Matisse, 19 February 1936]; the Pierre Matisse Gallery Archives, The Pierpont Morgan Library, New York MA 5020


  • Have you ever heard of anything more stupid than 'abstraction-abstraction'? and they ask me into their deserted house [probably Miro meant the group 'Abstraction-Création', founded by a. o. Jean Arp. [Arp and André Breton both coined Miro's art in 1931 as 'mobile' and 'stabile'] as if the marks I put on a canvas did not correspond to a concrete representation of my mind, did not possess a profound reality, were not a part of the real itself.
    • In: 'Où allez-vous Miró?', art critic Georges Duthuit in Cahiers d'Art 261, nos. 8-10, 1936


  • And then, as you can see, I give greater and greater importance to the materials I use in my work [c. 1936]. A rich and vigorous material seems necessary to me in order to give the viewer that smack in the face that must happen before reflection intervenes. In this way, poetry is expressed through a plastic medium, and it speaks its own language.
    • In: 'Où allez-vous Miro?', Georges Duthuit in Cahiers d’Art 11, nos. 8-10, 1936


  • Picasso was wild about it and said it was one of the best things I have ever made. [on Miro's exhibition in Paris, 1938 where he showed a big frieze, made for a children's room; commissioned by art-dealer Pierre Matisse in New York]
    • In: Calder Miró, ed. Elizabeth Hutton Turner / Oliver Wick; Philip Wilson Publishers, London 2004, p. 76


  • to try also, inasmuch as possible, to go beyond easel painting, which in my opinion has a narrow goal, and to bring myself closer, through painting, to the human masses I have never stopped thinking about.
    • In: 'Je rêve d’un grand atelier', Miro 1938; as quoted in Calder Miró, ed. Elizabeth Hutton Turner / Oliver Wick; Philip Wilson Publishers, London 2004, p. 65


  • How did I think up my drawings and my ideas for painting? Well I'd come home to my Paris studio in Rue Blomet at night, I'd go to bed, and sometimes I hadn't any supper. I saw things, and I jotted them down in a notebook. I saw shapes on the ceiling..
    • from: Miro, on English Wikipedia
    • his quote on 'automatic painting and drawing', explaining the start of his work 'Harlequin’s Carnival' he made in Paris, strongly admired by Surrealists like André Breton


1940 - 1960Edit

  • [to] think, in a certain way, of the power and severity of Romanesque paintings.. .Go to the beach and make graphic signs in the sand, draw by pissing on the dry ground, design in space by recording the songs of the birds, the sounds of water and wind.. ..and the chant of insects.
    • 'Working notes of Miro, 1940 – 1941'; as quoted in: Calder Miró, ed. Elizabeth Hutton Turner / Oliver Wick; Philip Wilson Publishers, London 2004, p. 69


  • [the canvas..] rubbing in with a handful of straw, with a rag, a scrubbing brush, a Majorcan brush for applying white, with the hand, etc.. .. [a drawing in a] gigantic rhythm like that of a waterfall cascading down a mountainside.. ..[works based on] pure signs begun in Varensgeville and finished in Palma.. ..[with a picture ground of] blue vitriol [a pesticide] that they use for the vines and that splashes against the walls of the farmhouse.. [Miro describes his 'attacks' on the canvas].
    • In: 'Working notes, 1941 – 1942', Miro; as quoted in Calder Miró, ed. Elizabeth Hutton Turner / Oliver Wick; Philip Wilson Publishers, London 2004, p. 69


  • Decoration. Very rapidly executed, at one go, spontaneously [reflection of making a mural on the site for the terrace plaza hotel in Cincinnati]. What takes a long time in my case is the work of silent reflection; it is impossible for me to predict the duration of this preparatory period. You have to keep in mind that it is by no means a matter of just doing a large picture, and though it will not be possible to paint a true mural by attacking the wall directly, in fresco, to do so will require persistence while maintaining, as much as possible, the spirit of the great tradition of mural painting. I shall have to go to Cincinnati in advance as soon as I can, to view the architecture and its environs, because otherwise I would only create an easel painting in large format.
    • In a letter to w:Pierre Matisse, 26 January 1946; as quoted in Calder Miro, ed. Elizabeth Hutton Turner / Oliver Wick; Philip Wilson Publishers, London 2004, p. 70


  • I was very interested in the reproductions of your [ Alexander Calder ] sculptures. I have looked at them many times [Calder sent him], and they are something completely unexpected. You are taking a path full of great possibilities. Bravo! Sculpture is of enormous interest to me right now. For the last two years [1944-46], during summer vacation, that's all I have been doing and it's very good for a painter to get away from the old story of canvas and frame every now and again.
    • In a letter to his friend Calder, Barcelona, 18 March 1946; as quoted in Calder Miró, ed. Elizabeth Hutton Turner / Oliver Wick; Philip Wilson Publishers, London 2004, p. 268


  • The spectacle of the sky overwhelms me. I'm overwhelmed when I see, in an immense sky, the crescent of the moon, or the sun. There, in my pictures, tiny forms in huge empty spaces. Empty spaces, empty horizons, empty plains - everything which is bare has always greatly impressed me.
    • from: English Wikipedia, Joan Miró, 1958, as quoted in Twentieth-Century Artists on Art


  • Painting must be fertile. It must give birth to a world.. ..it must fertilize the imagination.
    • from: Taillandier, 1959; as quoted in Calder Miró, ed. Elizabeth Hutton Turner / Oliver Wick; Philip Wilson Publishers, London 2004, p. 82, note 24


  • I try to apply colors like words that shape poems, like notes that shape music.
    • from: Joan Miro: Selected Writings and Interviews, M.Rowell, Thames and Hudson, 1987


  • I begin my work under the effect of shock, which I can sense and which gets me on the run from reality.. .In any case, I need a starting point, even if it’s just a speck of dust or a gleam of light.
    • In: On the Readability of Signs; Miro’s path from Mysterious to Comic Pictorial signs, Sylvia Martin; Düsseldorf 2002, p. 67



1961 and laterEdit

  • Thirty five years ago.. ..Sandy [Calder, and his wife] Louisa came to see me at Montroig, where I conceived the farm [Montroig in Spain, where Miro had a farm in the 1930s], where the trees, the mountains, the sky, the house, the vineyards, have remained the same. There were the mules have always eaten carobs, and where we have the same warming red wine. Well then, one day I invited all my neighbours, the farmers and workmen of the district to see the Circus that Calder had brought. Everyone was transfixed and totally overwhelmed by it.
  • quote on a visit of Calder who brought with him the small mechanical circus made from wire: a letter by Miro, 17 March 1964 / Correspondence 61; as quoted in “Calder Miró”, ed. Elizabeth Hutton Turner / Oliver Wick; Philip Wilson Publishers, London 2004, p. 33


  • When I first saw Calder's art very long ago [c. 1928 in Paris, Miro saw Calder performing his mechanical 'Circus' for the Paris' art scene, all puppets made from metal wire and wood] I thought it was good, but not art.
    • In: 'New York Times', 3 April 1969


  • Your face had become dark, and, upon the day's awakening, your ashes will disperse themselves throughout the garden.
Your ashes will fly to the sky, to make love with the stars.
Sandy, Sandy, your ashes caress the rainbow flowers that tickle the blue of the sky.
[short poem of Miro, on the death of his good old art-paw, the inventor of the 'mobile' Sandy Calder ]
    • In: his 'Foreword', Barcelona 1977; as quoted in Calder Miro, ed. Elizabeth Hutton Turner / Oliver Wick; Philip Wilson Publishers, London 2004, p. 309


  • In the current struggle I see the antiquated forces of fascism on one side, and on the other, those of the people, whose immense creative resources will give Spain a drive that will amaze the world.
    • In: Revelations', Luis Permanyer, April 1978; as quoted in Calder Miró, ed. Elizabeth Hutton Turner / Oliver Wick; Philip Wilson Publishers, London 2004, p. 81 note 10


Quotes about MiroEdit

  • Miro came of age as an artist just at the time World War 1. ended. With the end of the war came the end of all the new pre-war art conceptions. A young painter could not start as a Cubist or a Futurist, and Dada was the only manifestation at the moment. Miro began by painting farm scenes from the countryside of Barcelona, his native land.. .A few years later he came to Paris [circa 1914] and found himself among the Dadaists who were, at that time, transmuting into Surrealism. In spite of this contact Miró kept aloof from any direct influence and showed a series of canvases in which form submitted to strong colouring expressed a new two-dimensional cosmogony, in no way related to abstraction.
    • Marcel Duchamp in: 'Appreciations of other artists': Joan Miro (painter, sculptor author) 1946, by Marcel Duchamp; as quoted in Catalog, Collection of the Societé Anonyme, eds. Michel Sanouillet / Elmer Peterson, London 1975, pp. 143- 159


  • ..I’ve been touched, in the work of Miró and Pollock, by a Surrealist – by Surrealist I mean 'associative' – quality. It’s what comes through in association after your eye has experienced the surface as a great picture; it is incidental but can be enriching.
    • Helen Frankenthaler in: 'Interview with Helen Frankenthaler', Henry Geldzahler; Artforum' 4. no. 2, October 1965, pp. 37-38


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